It’s that busy time of year with increased activities as preparations are made for decorating, gift-giving, and time with family; so take a moment to think how you can enjoy your holidays and stay safe at the same time. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind.
Check your smoke alarm before adding electrical decorations. Often lights are added during the holidays, both inside and outside of your home. This can put an added strain on breakers, but especially on outlet strips. Watch that these are not overloaded and be aware of any unusual odors or flickering that may signal an overheated strip of lights.
Keep candles unlit unless there is someone watching them and be sure they are not close to flammable materials.
Children – and adults – love to be close to a fireplace. Use a fire screen and check to see if clothing, especially pajamas, are fire-proofed. Outdoor fire pits can be especially enticing to children; be sure an adult monitors activity around the fire and discourages roughhousing in the area.
During gatherings of family and friends, there may be a number of people in the kitchen, including children. Keep pots on the back burners of the stovetop if possible to avoid burns from accidental bumping or little hands reaching.
While some pets may love the activity and attention, others may become agitated. Ensure there’s a safe place where your pet can relax and also where the pet will not be tempted to lash out at a child. Dropped food can turn a docile pet into one that will bite to defend its prize.
Trees, lights, ornaments, ribbons, wrapping paper, and food – chocolate and nuts especially – must be out of reach or watched closely so you don’t experience a late night trip to an emergency vet.
Shopping and traffic
This is the time of year when the “traffic is terrific” and can put a damper on trips to the mall or event venues. There is no avoiding it, unless all shopping is done online, but be prepared. If you can shop “off hours” you’ll have fewer issues. Check road conditions before leaving home and find the best route.
When you park, keep all packages in the trunk or other place where they cannot be seen. Always lock doors. When walking to and from a store, keep your eyes open and avoid looking at your phone. Take note of where you park so you can walk directly to your vehicle, keys in hand, when leaving the store or event. If you feel uncomfortable about any people in the parking lot, go back into the store and request an escort.
Hold purses or wallets and don’t leave in shopping baskets, even for a moment. Guard your cards and carefully input your PIN number in a manner that is not visible to others.
This time of year is filled with parties and dinners where liquor is served. If you want to celebrate with drinks, there are ways to do it safely. If you have one drink, have it early and eat at the same time. Stay long enough to remove it from your system before driving. Otherwise, ride with a friend or take one of the car services to get home. Many holidays have been ruined because of one too many.
Enjoy your holidays!
These suggestions are common sense and take very little time, but they can save you from a holiday and lifetime of regrets. Enjoy your holidays and stay safe!